Is Damien Hirst nonetheless funding? Here is what the information says concerning the state of the marketplace for the well-known artist

Damien Hirst infamously does fairly effectively for himself. The 56-year-old is England’s richest artist, thanks partly to the branding energy of his recognizable work, factory-like studio operation and bad-boy persona (regardless of his largesse, he nonetheless makes a loot level). off-camera like a punk raging in opposition to the automotive).

Hirst burst onto the scene within the Nineties alongside the YBAs together with his conceptual bloody shark sculpture and received the Turner Prize. On the peak of his market earlier than the monetary disaster of 2007-2008, his sculptural challenges fetched eight-figure sums at public sale.

Though he’s nonetheless a family identify attracting dollars within the major market, the wild success of his public sale peak has since subsided and his market has but to get well. In the meantime, his credibility as a disruptor of establishments has diminished significantly given his business success, and he has been criticized in recent times for his unimaginative ideas and unfair labor practices.

Nonetheless, he continued to supply works, some extra provocative than others, that responded to his key pursuits within the themes of dying, science, faith and cash. His newest problem was a playful experiment with foam for NFT: “The Forex” requested every the customer to decide on whether or not to change an NFT token for a bodily paper work or preserve the digital version, after which Hirst would actually burn the corresponding drawing. Most consumers most well-liked the IRL art workand early secondary market outcomes present greater costs for objects than NFTs, indicating that the market nonetheless values ​​at the least a few of Hirst’s bodily works.

However what about the remainder of his work? We hit up the Artnet Value Database to seek out out.


Public sale Document: $19.2 million, fetched at Sotheby’s in June 2007

Hirst’s efficiency in 2021

Tons offered: 678
Bought in: 142
Gross sales Price: 82.7 %
Common promoting value: $55,898
Common estimate: $44,061
Whole gross sales: 37.9 million {dollars}
Total high value: 6.9 million {dollars}
Lowest Whole Value: $95 for a small signed butterfly portray dated 2009

© 2022 Artnet Worldwide Company.


  1. Market foam. Hirst’s public sale market started to warmth up within the early 2000s, when works offered out shortly on the first market. Common costs peaked in 2007, when a 2002 paper, Lullaby Spring, a glass cupboard stuffed with handmade miniature tablets that responded to Hirst’s iconic early works, together with his spot work and drugs cupboards, offered for $19.2 million at Sotheby’s.
  2. Self-sabotage. Hirst’s market peaked in 2008. That yr, his work flooded auctions, with quantity rising 63.4 % to $268.8 million in whole gross sales. Whereas it is pure for extra work to return available on the market within the wake of a report, the excessive quantity was resulting from Hirst’s determination to deliver 218 works immediately from his studio to public sale, a then-radical advertising gesture that reduce by the galleries. The public sale befell in September at Sotheby’s on the identical night time that Lehman Brothers collapsed and monetary markets crashed, signaling the beginning of the Nice Recession. Whereas the gesture was a supreme advertising feat for Hirst’s model, it additionally oversaturated his market, and the next yr, as monetary stress was felt elsewhere, general gross sales fell by 92.4 %.
  3. Discovery {Dollars}. After 2008, the secondary marketplace for Hirst retreated in response to oversupply and consumers grew to become extra selective. Competitors and excessive costs in subsequent years targeted on Hirst’s progressive items of the Nineties and early 2000s, akin to his spot work, drugs cupboards and early set up works. Shopping for alternatives stay in difficult early large-scale installations, as many are deterred by upkeep and storage necessities. Because of this even necessary installations from the Nineties can nonetheless be present in a comparatively inexpensive value vary. Elsewhere, folks slept on some uncommon spot work from the Nineties through the day’s gross sales, a lot of which nonetheless bear traces of the artist’s hand in small imperfections that disappeared after he stepped up his studio work.
  4. The thriving market. Lately, Hirst has come across a successful components with a more moderen physique of labor. Rapidly gaining market traction are Hirst’s in style “cherry blossom” work, which might fetch anyplace from $750,000 to $3.5 million on the first market, both by Gagosian, White Dice or his personal Science Ltd firm. New York timeS. Though they’re produced in a manufacturing facility operation, they’re coveted: one in all them broke its estimate to promote for $5.6 million at Sotheby’s New York this spring. Different in style sequence in the mean time embrace his shiny butterfly work and objects from his legendary 2017 Venice exhibition, Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable.
  5. Horizontal traces. Final yr was Hirst’s finest at public sale for the reason that crash, with the works bringing in an estimated $37.9 million. However that comes with a caveat: 820 works have been provided, a 28.9 % improve from their peak in 2008. The overall gross sales determine continues to be 85.9 % beneath its peak, and a zebra in formaldehyde that offered at its 2008 public sale for $1.9 million, resold at Sotheby’s for $782,000 in 2021. Nonetheless, there are optimistic indicators for the market: 12,178 customers have searched the Artnet Value Database for Hirst prior to now 12 months, and up to now in 2022, he’s the sixth-highest modern artist at public sale, with works value roughly $28.1 million.
Damien Hirst with The Currency artwork, 2021. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2022.

Damien Hirst with The Forex art work, 2021. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2022.


A resurgence in Hirst’s market this yr might partly be attributed to the broader financial state of affairs. Individuals have a tendency to show to model names in a recession as a safer maintain on worth in opposition to inflation, and Hirst’s ubiquitous model definitely will not harm him in that regard. That stated, the artwork market tends to lag behind normal world occasions, so it could be untimely to imagine that purchaser psychology alone is driving the pattern. One other apparent issue is rising the amount of labor on the public sale.

Basically, nonetheless, Hirst’s determination in recent times to maneuver away from store home windows and spot work to giant, summary, colourful compositions akin to cherry blossoms has suited market tastes which have moved away from conceptual work dry to expressionistic, painterly works on canvas. With cherry blossoms specifically – recognizable ornamental works which are straightforward to deal with – Hirst appears to have hit on the fitting alchemy of the market, which explains why his groups deal with cherry blossom work for museum exhibitions, that are presently considered. on the Nationwide Artwork Middle Tokyo, following an outing on the Fondation Cartier in Paris final yr.

These are produced in quantity however are nonetheless extremely wanted and have been sturdy outcomes for people who have appeared at public sale up to now. It is too early to say for certain, however for those who watch this house, you would possibly see one thing blossoming.

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